Hawaii Part III

Wow! Aloha Friday here in paradise was great! We got out of the hotel and began our search straightway for Portuguese sausage eggs and rice, which is literally the breakfast of choice for many locals here. So much so that they have it at McDonald’s. That was yummy! We had that and decided to do a bunch of video today and drive around the entire island.

We headed towards Kaimuki and stopped at Leonard’s bakery for some famous and incredibly delicious malasadas, which must be some ancient word for “greasy spongy sugary yumminess” in some language here. Nobody can touch the perfection level given you at this place for malasadas, hands down. We ate most of the ones we bought right there in the parking lot, cuz they’re SO good hot!

Then we proceeded to go through Kaimuki and Kahala and take Kalanianaole Hwy over to Hawaii Kai where we used to live. We stopped by the old town house and videotaped it in its current state, just cuz. It was such a perfect day to drive around the island, I must say. We saw Sandy Beach on the east side as we went around the bend over to Makapuu and Waimanalo. The view and the water were gorgeous! It has been too long since I had seen that area! The colors in the water were so many shades of teal and green and blue and my polarized sunglasses made the colors pop out even more.


I told Trish about the time I almost drowned at Makapuu beach…I was boogie boarding and got pounded into the rocky area. I lost my board and was getting pounded over and over by the set that came in and got my legs scratched up really good on the rocks. But I made it! Thank God!

As we drove through Waimanalo, I remembered much simpler days, although my days were in town and Waimanalo is beautiful country tucked beneath what I think is the most breathtaking part of the Ko’olau mountain range. The whole time on that side of the island, we drove past school after school that was right by the water. That’s just so cool!

We made our way over to Kailua and drove through Lanikai and got lost for a bit (sheesh! some local I turned out to be) and saw some cool homes by the water. Trish and I have teased each other about the idea of coming back to Hawaii to live, and where we might want to live, all things considered (read: money not being an issue). We always come back to Lanikai for some reason. It is neatly tucked away and such a beautiful beach town. Maybe it’s the haole in me or something, cuz there are a lot of haoles over on the Kailua side for sure.

We took the long way around Kaneohe Bay next. It’s a winding road right on the waterfront. Once we made it around, we soon found ourselves out by Chinaman’s Hat or Kualoa beach park. We stopped there to stretch and take photos and some video. Trish went “swimming” up to her knees for a bit. It was so soothing to hear the little waves lap up on the shore. It’s like, but even better than, those Corona beer ads that put you on a beach and make you feel relaxed etc by the gorgeous water. sigh….that’s my Hawaii right there.

We also saw some Portuguese Man of War on the sand. Three within a 9 foot stretch of beach. That’s the risk you take when you swim on the windward side of the island..the jellyfish blow right on up and can sting pretty bad. Knock on wood, I have never been stung in my lifetime thus far! We took some more photos and carried on towards La’ie.

I used to make that drive alot when I was in college out at BYU in La’ie. It doesn’t really get old, it’s so pretty. Once there, we stopped for photos at the PCC and the temple, then drove over to BYU campus to show Trish where my dorm was and where I played music and so on. She says I already showed her all of this long ago when we were first dating or married. Oops!

We proceeded through Kahuku and you’ll never guess what we saw, correction, I saw first! Cows! “Look a cow!” I yelled. “I win! HA HAAAAAAA!” we always play this game in our family while in the car, if you are the first to see a cow and you say “look a cow!” you win. What does one win, you may ask? Haley family bragging rights, that’s what! And I won the contest all the way over in Hawaii! Booya! Trish was a good sport, letting me rub it in BIG time! 🙂

We stopped on the north shore at Waimea to see the younger generation have their turn having fun jumping off “the rock” that is there on the beach. That place is really crowded now!

We stopped at Matsumoto’s in Haleiwa for shave ice, but the line was about 30 people strong and we were not THAT hard up for it so we kept going.

We drove through the old pineapple fields on the way through the valley under the Waianae mountain range. It is always awesome to be near those mountains. I think of December 7, 1941 sometimes while I look across that valley and see how easy it looks to fly a plane through it, below mountain peak levels. I also think of the history with the pantations and see all the old red oxidized dirt. I also see the shortcut home from the north shore. It’s a beautiful side of the island.

We made it back into town and stopped to eat and shop at Ward Warehouse. Trish saw an old co-worker friend at Executive Chef where she used to work when she was putting us through school. We then proceeded to eat two huge Korean bbq combo plates! Yum! The Korean lady serving us cracked me up! You get 4 choices of side vegetable with the combo plate and as soon as I say the first choice, she says “and?”…uh…uh….and some kim chee “and??”…uh..uh…the pressure! It was freakng hilarious! It was just like in that movie Dude Where’s My Car? when the lady at the drive thru kept saying “an den??” ha ha ha ha! “no mo an den!!!”

Trish decided to then relax at the hotel and let me go play at Corey’s house (apartment now). We sang a little karaoke and then stayed up till 3 playing guitar hero on the playstation. Dude!!! That game so totally rules! I am definitely going to try to get my hands on that very soon!

It was quite a fun filled day!

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Hawaii Part II

Since writing yesterday, so much has happened! I finally met up with my academic advisor, Jeanne Oka at UH Manoa. She is super nice and we were able to give her the gift we brought over for her: a Texas shaped cutting board and a graduation announcement and a big hug of thanks. I had even thought of a joke before coming to Hawaii for when I would be presenting this to her but I forgot to use it when the time came…I would have bought you cutting boards of the Hawaiian islands but it would be hard to set them all up, spaced out just right and it would be pretty hard to keep your veggies on a tiny Oahu or Maui, you know? Ok it was funny when I said it out loud, not typing it with my thumbs on my little cell phone like now…sheesh!

OK so then we went to the UH bookstore and they had tons of school pride gear, some of which I just had to buy. Once we were ready to pay, we realized we didn’t have Trish’s wallet, the one with the card we are using for purchases on this trip. So I hiked back up the hill to get it from the car and all was well.

After seeing the bookstore and deciding not to buy the foam shaka one might use at a UH football game…we checked out the cafeteria at campus center…Dude!!! They have a built-in Yummys korean bbq in there!!! It smelled soooooo good when we walked inside.

It was too early for us for lunch anyway so we postponed that for a bit and went across the way to Kuykndal 103 where I used to work for CIS, the center for instructional support on campus. I spoke with Clifford Fujimoto for a few minutes and remembered the good old days. He said they were retiring the video editing booth, of which I was the master back in the day. 🙂 I told him about my stint in the news and how my experience at CIS totally got me the job and made it possible for me to provide (sorta) for my family and have a little fun doing it too. My video skills still come in handy all the time now and might actually be a huge thing pretty soon if things work out and I successfully make a career change…but shhhh! that’s a different blog k?

We then made it towards Edmundson Hall, home to the zoology department that my dad was a huge part of for about 30 years or so. For some reason I felt like I had a right to go there and see my dad’s old office and lab, which I spent countless hours in, studying, napping, doing chores for my dad, sitting in on these impossible exams he would give his histology students. I had no idea who might be in there now and what it would look like, and was resigned to chicken out when Trish tried the doorknob and it was locked. Seconds later, the door opened and it was a younger guy who looked friendly enough that he just might believe the crazy story I was about to lay on him.

I told the truth to this guy, that this office and lab had been my dad’s for about 30 years and it had sentimental value to me as his son, and that I would really like to be able to see it again. He cheerfully agreed, invited us in, and even allowed me to take video of the place, which I did thoroughly, with the intent to show my dad and for posterity’s sake anyway. That office was my dad’s second home. It was where he could get away and think and do research and he also spent many hours there on personal time doing church duties and writing talks and all kinds of stuff.

Because the place meant so much to him, and because I have so many memories of the place, it means a lot to me and I was very happy to have seen it and be able to document it for him/us and the whole family. It was a bit shocking and sad, however, to see that none of the original furniture, equipment or layout was still there. The place had been turned into a non-teaching research lab for genetic marine studies. I got it all on tape. I don’t know why but that moment is a huge highlight of this trip so far, to do that for my dad. I hope he is as happy to know what came of his home away from home.


We then walked back uphill to the institute of religion and video-documented the place, chatted with Nancy Navas again, and we were on our way.

We went down University Avenue to our first studio apartment as a married couple down on Varsity Circle. Wow! What memories that came flooding back! We have definitely been blessed in our lives. That place is such a hole! But we made it home for the time we were there, you know? That reminds me, I want to go see and document Liona Lanai apartments…the one bedroom hole we lived in last before leaving Hawaii.

We moseyed down Beretania street and over to Young street to see if Meyong’s bbq was still there. NOOOOOOO!!! That place, a house really, was no longer there. Reminds me of the fate of my own house on Young street further down…demolished and paved over for a pet clinic. Nice.

So no “BEST EVER” mac salad and bbq chicken from Meyongs anymore…sigh.

Trish convinced this nice lady at the 76 gas station that she was pregnant and was about to pee all over the store floor, so she let her use the employee bathroom. It amazes me that you can’t count on any place around here for a pulic restroom like you can in Texas, California, etc. At least we found a merciful cashier, and I begrudgingly (HA!) made a purchase of a cold diet coke while there to make the restroom gift more valuable to business. heh heh.

We poceeded to drive down Beretania and I saw my old elementary school (we had also seen my middle school earlier…Washington Intermediate. I glanced over to the bike racks at which I got picked on by a filipino dude who was sour that his ex girlferiend was into me…drama!) and it brought back some vivid memories.

We ended up at Ala Moana and started our trek from the Sears/zippy’s side. I documented the Zippy’s fry-cook area where my brother Morgan worked for quite a while as a teen. He’s a bad-ass cook now too!

Ala Moana has changed SO much! like…you can’t even get into the bottom floor parking due to constsruction. And most of the stores we saw were just high-end uppity rich-people stores that I am normally not interested in even if I had money…which I don’t.

We did get to eat at Makai Market…at poi bowl, where we got the local boy specials…kalua pig, pork laulau, poi, lomi lomi salmon, chicken long rice and haupia. YEAH BABY!!! That was a LONG time coming! It was so cool to see the people there at Makai Market. Mostly locals lined up at poi bowl, and others were getting pizza and other haole food. You can have just about anything there. And there were a lot of cute chicks all over the mall too. Don’t worry, Trish knows and she thinks it’s funny. 🙂

By the time we were done with Ala Moana, our feet were pretty darn sore. Remember, we did a bunch of hiking around UH campus the first half of the day. We went back to he hotel (The Pagoda hotel, btw) and rested for an hour before deciding to go over to the huge wal mart/ sams club one block away from here. You know how wal marts on the mainland have a McDonalds right at the entrance? Well this one has an L&Ls!!! A very popular plate lunch place here in Hawaii and even over in california. I had to get something there! mini loco moco and a mahi burger deluxe! chee huuu!

We combed every aisle of Wal Mart and sure enough, as I had predicted, they had all manner of aloha-style goods, like aloha print seat covers, coolers, sleeping bags, aloha shirts, you name it. We got a bunch of stuff!

We made it back to the hotel and had a great night together watchin Japanese TV. yeah..Japanese TV. some newscaster was talking then they went to video of a scuba diver in a pool, jumping around on a pogo stick underwater. Those crazy Japanese! ha ha ha They are EVERYWHERE here! You thought there were too many Mexicans in Texas?? This place is a little Tokyo! They didn’t nickname my high school here Tokyo High for nothing you know!

I am loving every second of it!!!


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Back in Hawaii Episode 1

I can’t seem to get online on my phone to myspace anymore, so I am commandeering this PC at UH Manoa, since I still have a valid student username and password! Heh heh!

So…I’m back in Hawaii and the feelings are very strange. Things are so different now that it’s hard to imagine living here again. Things look so dilapidated in the spots I have driven through so far. We got off on Kinau street, near my old stomping grounds when I lived on Young Street here in Honolulu. The dairy building that was on the corner of Beretania and Keeaumoku is gone. Just a dirty lot now. Weird. And there’s an entire Sam’s club and Wal Mart right on Keeaumoku…I never would have thought that would all fit there…and there it is, in spitting distance from Ala Moana! As if the intersection at Keeaumoku and Kapiolani needed more traffic, right?

This place really looks like it took a huge beating! But that’s just my initial reaction. I still have a few more days to let this all soak in and to see the other parts of Honolulu and O’ahu that have inproved somehow over the time.

So far we have driven to 7-11 and had manapua! And a diet coke, of course, and the requisite 7-11 tuna sandwich I used to get all the time in my college days before my 7 am Spanish class at UH Manoa. Still tastes the same! But it’s over 3 bucks for the small sandwich! AIYA!

We drive by where I was born, the old Kaiser hospital site, where the Hawaii Prince hotel now stands. That changed a long time ago when I was still here in Hawaii. They used the explosion of the building (demolition) as footage in a Magnum PI episode. I tell that to fricken everybody I know for some reason, heh heh. I even made a memory in that new hotel once. I was on a date with Marie Badger, to see a movie at the Marina Twins (that’s gone now too…it’s an Outback…sigh). We sat in the lobby of the hotel hanging out and waiting for the movie time, and we got waited on and she got an orange juice. I don’t remember if I got anything. What I do remember is that when I put down the 10 dollar bill to pay for it, she told me to just leave the money and go, not wait for change. In other words, tip pretty well. That was an interesting lesson. That, and the way she told me she HAD to have her own package of red vines at the movie! My kinda girl.

So then we drove to Ala Wai boat harbor and I pointed out where Shannon Phelps (another girl a dated long ago) used to live…and then Trish was all like..”uh, pretty cool to bring me all the way over to Hawaii for a second honeymoon just to show me where you spent time with all your girlfriends!” HA HA HA HA! She was messing with me, it’s all good.

Then we drove through Waikiki, Kapiolani park, and up and around Diamond Head, up Kapahulu, left on Waialae, and then onto H1 in morning traffic (lame) and right back off onto University Ave. We went up to the Institute of Religion, where we went to church as students. We met up with Sister Navas, who was there back in the day and we chatted for over an hour about all the changes that have occured and so on. She’s really nice.

Now we are on campus at University of Hawaii at Manoa, from whence I shall graduate this Sunday! I am waiting in a waiting area for students who need academic counseling. Jeanne Oka is my advisor and we dropped by to give her a gift and to say thank you. She stuck with me these past 9 to 10 years on making sure I could finish my degree and not just let is slide. I would not have been able to know what to do if it wasn’t for her, really.

I sent her an email and am hoping she comes out sometime soon. But for now, this room is very well air conditioned, and has internet access, so that’s just peachy with me!

More later, if I can get another chance to use a PC online!

Josh

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Airport Blog

We are at IAH airport getting ready to board our flight to Honolulu…my home of 28?? years, my birthplace and the only place I know all the streets and local secrets to.

I am tapping this blog out on my cell phone. The Moto Q is a pretty cool little device. Anyway, just in case myspace decides to eat this blog like it has others…I will keep this short.

I will not have a laptop with me on this trip (there’s no wifi at our hotel anyway…whats up with that?) but will be doing most if not all of my online stuff on this phone. That’s pretty fricken convenient!

We are very excited to make this trip and I can hardly believe that we will be eating plate lunches within the next 10 to 12 hours! OK..nuff about all that for now. Will write more once we’re there.

Josh

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NYC

I got to see New York City for the first time in my 33 years. It was a brief trip, but it was enough to get the idea just how overwhelming it is. I was sent by my company to the LegalTech trade show. My boss Tony came as well. We flew into Newark, NJ and caught a train into Manhattan (Penn Station) and when you get out to the curb, it looks like this:

(You can click on the pictures to get the full sized version)

I had to get a picture in front of my favorite news channel’s big sign, of course.

We caught a cab to our hotel…

and let me just tell you…cab drivers don’t care if they’re about to hit pedestrians. They will plow right through you if you are in the street and not supposed to be there. They can change lanes very quickly and get honked at quite a bit. But it’s THE most effective way to get around quickly in Manhattan.

We then made our way to the Merrill production shop there in NYC. I wanted to see how Oleg, my couterpart there, was doing so well with blowbacks, scanning and e-discovery work. This image shows the blowback section of the production floor.

About 5 Imagerunner 105’s surround a worker who is using Zprint to do a “measley” 86K page job. These guys mean business.

Back to the city itself… we just happenned to stumble on a familiar spot in Times Square, so I had to get a photo.

We made it across the street over to the Hershey’s store and got some free samples. Yum. Later, we walked back towards our hotel and stumbled upon the Ed Sullivan theater, where David Letterman does his nightly Late Show. Had to pose there too.

Later, we asked for a median-priced steakhouse for dinner. A lady at a hotel sent us to Gallagher’s. We got there and I had a 40 dollar top sirloin steak. And that price doesn’t include a potato! Yikes! If that’s median-priced, I sure need to stay away from expensive! Tony had the 38 dollar prime rib and we were both quite happy with the quality of fod and service there.

Then the hotel room…The next morning, my view out of the room was like the following two shots:

It was very cold, but not quite as cold as it was the night before.

So we made it to the trade show, and saw a bunch of companies with which we do business, as well as others that we had yet to hear of. We collected lots of gadgets and freebies that each booth would give away. Mostly fun stuff for the kids that I brought home. One of my proudest takes was a useful keychain separator I talked our direct competition Pitney Bowes out of.

Merrill was there, in its 3-booth-wide grandeur. This picture doesn’t capture it here, but there was quite a buzz at this booth. That’s good news for our company.

After the show, it being Tony’s birthday, we went to a bar and grill a couple of blocks over and had dinner to celebrate. Tony was able to hook up with some of his friends. Here’s a shot:

The next morning, we checked out of the hotel, then hiked up to Central Park and walked around a bit amidst the snow. Upon closer inspection, we realized that much of the snow near the entryways and sidewalks was “yellow snow”. Nice. Here’s a shot of me on one of the walkway bridges with some huge buildings in the background.

We also saw children playing soccer, and we noticed an unused baseball diamond behind them. If you could see through all of the trees, you would see the rest of Central Park.

We noticed on our short hike that Carnegie Hall was just right there. THE Carnegie Hall. Wow.

Just down the street from here is the Brooklyn Diner. We stopped in there for some breakfast. It was interesting how they had little plaques of famous people’s names bolted to each booth where patrons sit. We sat at a booth where Gloria Estefan once sat, as well as Kevin Spacey and a few other I can’t remember. Our waiter mentioned to us that Sir Paul McCartney himself was just in the diner about 5 minutes before we got there, and was sitting in the booth right next to ours. Wow. That’s the closest I think I’ll ever get to a real Beatle.

We then caught a cab down to the southern tip of Manhattan to see the World Trade Center site. Here are some photos of that sobering experience.

Then a short walk towards Wall Street brought us to a lunch cart, selling yummy Mediterranean chicken gyros. I had one to go and ate it in the cab on the way to JFK airport.

From the cab, going over one of the many bridges there, we could see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

That’s the last picture I took of NYC. I obviously need to go back again sometime and see the million things that I missed. But it was a quick business trip, so it had to end abruptly.

That’s about it! I (heart) NY!

+josh